If you’re not familiar with a choux, think of macarons or gougères. OK, still not there yet? Choux — or pâtes à choux — are sweet, delectable French cream-puffs the size of a ping-pong ball filled with custard and topped with an elegant icing. They’re adorable little suckers that embody French baking: They’re flaky, they’re buttery, and they have zero nutritional value. Luckily, we don’t have to travel all the way to the Fifth Arrondissement to enjoy these lovely little delicacies. All we have to do is walk over to the Lower Haight.
On the corner of Fillmore and Haight streets is CHOUX, a French bakery that specializes in these delicious desserts. Starting from this simple pastry made with butter, water, flour, and eggs, CHOUX has fun with its recipes, dishing out flavors like pistachio, hazelnut, and chocolate raspberry. They bake their pastries daily and have an assortment of different flavors, some rotating from month to month. Currently, June’s flavors are lime yuzu coconut and cookies-and-cream.
The pastry itself is light and clean, but once you bite into the outer shell, the most wonderful creamy combustion of fruity and sugary flavors emerges. The hard coating cracks, allowing the decadent custard to flow freely. They’re different than any other kind of cream-puff, and with a perfect pastry-to-filling ratio besides, they’re impeccable.
CHOUX also offers a selection of meringues and financiers, which are basically cake bites, any of which would make for great party favors or additions to a dessert spread. The Lower Haight isn’t famed for its bakeries or confections, but CHOUX often gets overlooked. It’s a small shop that bakes small desserts, but they pack a mean punch.
CHOUX, 248 Fillmore St., no phone, chouxsf.com